An Immigrant’s Tale

Musings are thoughts, the thoughtful kind. For the purpose of these articles, a-musings are thoughts that might amuse, entertain and even enlighten.

Crime was far from my mind in the mid-eighties. Our family vacations, which were becoming more and more frequent, were beginning to take on a permanency that would soon lead to residency and ultimately citizenship. After a decade and a half of travelling to and fro between Europe and our soon to be new homeland we felt we were ready for the big move.

One day, I walked through the living room of our Caribbean Cottage, as the architect had so quaintly named the house on the Golf Course, just opposite what in those days was called Smugglers’ Village, to find a man creeping down the outside steps that led from the road above. The house was built on a slope.

I was a little surprised, but greeted him as I would have greeted anyone, and when he told me that he was looking for a job, I explained that I already had a gardener who came in a couple of days a week, but that he could wash my car for me if he wished, which he duly did, and I paid him five dollars, and that was the end of that.

Some time later, we returned home only to find that our TV set was missing, which was no great loss because most days I had to sit on the roof and turn an aerial in order to get Martinique; Barbados popped up now and then, but the local stations were seen through a snowstorm.

But what was worst of all was that the pair of bright orange tennis shoes my wife had purchased for me just a couple of days before was also missing. I went down to the police station and made a report.

A couple of days later, lo and behold, there were my shoes walking down the main street in Gros Islet.

I followed the gentleman – he looked suspiciously like my car washer – until he disappeared into a house, and then toddled off to the police to report my findings. The Sergeant knew the man, asked me to accompany him, went to his house, found my TV set and arrested him.

Our insurance company had given us marker pens to mark our property. The TV set was clearly ours. The man denied stealing it, however. His alibi was that he had smuggled the set in from Martinique so it couldn’t be ours.

We left the island shortly after. It was time to return to reality and work. Several months later, we were back. Within a day, we received a visit from our Police Sergeant who wondered why we had not shown up in court. We explained that we had no idea that the case had proceeded so far, and in any case, we were on the other side of the Atlantic so it would have been impossible to attend. The man had been set free with no case to answer.

The Sergeant was not impressed and asked me if I was afraid of the thief. I explained again that I had no knowledge of any proceedings against the thief. He left – obviously not satisfied – but assured me that he would keep an eye on things.

We lived a very sheltered life in those days. Every day revolved around family things. The kids were young and did young things. We went to the beach, swam, made food, ate, read, talked, walked and went to bed early. What happened in the outside world was pretty irrelevant.

A couple of weeks later, I received yet another call from my ever so attentive Police Sergeant.

“You don’t have to worry any more,” he reported.

“Worry?” I asked.

“We got him.”

“Got him?”

“Shot him. Resisting arrest”

Extra judicial killings might not be such a modern phenomenon as some might think. Life can be really cheap at times.

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